The change has been prompted by uncertainty over the COVID-19 situation, with organisers keen to lock the festival into a format that can be delivered in any scenario.
Festival Director Ann-maree Ellis, said participants could look forward to WAM’s usual high-quality offerings with author talks, writing competitions and schools programs just some of the highlights.
'WAM delivered digitally is a bit of an experiment but that makes it even more exciting, and the program is looking amazing,' she said.
'We’re taking a flexible, can-do approach to this year’s festival and while we’re still hopeful of delivering some live events, they’ll also be livestreamed if need be.'
The festival will officially run from 9 September to 13 September but literary fans can get an early taste of the action on Sunday 28 June, when author Nick Gadd will deliver a presentation on 'psychogeography' – a discussion on how everyday items in our neighbourhoods can provide the inspiration for amazing stories.
Nick is the author of Death of a Typographer, a crime novel about ‘fonts’ which he’ll discuss as part of WAM in September. In addition to the online ‘psychogeography’ talk he’ll also present a writing workshop on 12 July.
The annual AlburyCity Short Story Award returns to WAM in 2020, with entries now open for 3000-word stories on any theme. First prize is $1,000 cash and the competition is open to entrants Australia-wide.
Students from grades 3 to 12 will also get a chance to flex their writing muscles through The River of Stories, which offers great prizes for poetry and tales, while a special schools program will ensure hundreds of students will get to digitally-meet popular authors James Phelan, Nova Wheetman, and George Ivanoff.
'We’re keenly aware of the planning challenges faced by teachers so we hope the video talks and tutorials produced by our authors will provide a window into the festival for teachers and students,' Ms Ellis said.
'One of the advantages of this approach is that the materials can be downloaded by teachers and used in the classroom any time from July to December.'
The complete author line-up and program will be announced next month while podcasts featuring author conversations at previous WAM festivals are available online.
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